I just returned from Cisco’s second annual Velocity event in Miami. It had to be one of the most down to earth practical events I have attended. Rather than a “hype the channel event”, Cisco brought together more than 250 Channel partners and a select group of marketing vendors to help them “Navigate to Accelerate.”
Cisco’s goal is to support its resellers as a trusted business advisor to accelerate their marketing. As Luanne Tierney, vice president, Cisco worldwide channels marketing put it Cisco has gathered “the best and the brightest marketing gurus on the planet” to talk best practices and show existing and new tools, to improve its channel marketing. “This event is not about Cisco . . . it’s about you.”
It was clear that Cisco scored major brownie points with its VAR’s by bringing them together to share secretes of their success. Kicking off the three day event with a mini-trade show around the pool of the Fontainebleau hotel, Cisco showcased vendors, including eTrigue, who have successfully helped Cisco drive its marketing and sales programs.
This by-invitation event was designed to show resellers how they can benefit from proven tools and services. And while many other IT vendors are retrenching, the Cisco resellers I spoke with were impressed with Cisco’s efforts to help them go after more than $40 billion of installed Cisco equipment that is more than five years old and ripe for the replacing.
The event included some marketing thought leaders including Seth Godin, author of Permission Marketing and All Marketers Are Liars, Gerry McGovern, “Web Development Visionary”, and Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind – Entertaining and educational. The event also included a variety of breakout sessions:
- Turning Your Website into a Lead Generating Machine
- No One Will Know It Wasn’t Your Idea (Replicable Partner Best Practices)
- How to Build a Powerful Value Proposition
- Telling Your Story to Drive Demand – PR Now and Tomorrow
- Don’t Be a Social Media Moron
- Don’t Be the Black Sheep – How To Champion Marketing in Your Organization (ROI)
- Who Knew? Marketing Managed Services to Grow Your Business
- Putting the Power of Cisco Marketing Behind You
- SMB – Marketing Your Small Business in Today’s Big World
My big three takeaways?
- Cisco is doing it right by putting together the marketing and sales programs along with educational events to work hand in hand with their resellers in an effort to garner their unfair share of sales.
- B2B buyers are becoming savvier. The marketing programs that are working are more targeted and more creative than ever. One of the best examples was the 3marketeers BullsEye! program which was highlighted in multiple breakout sessions. Even Cisco is having fun on YouTube: A Special Valentine’s Day Gift…from Cisco!
- “Cost effective marketing” is the key message in economically turbulent times. You can do big things on a budget, but measuring marketing ROI is more critical than ever!